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Saturday, Jun 15, 2024

Equality watchdog brings domestic helper employer to court over alleged sexual harassment

Equality watchdog brings domestic helper employer to court over alleged sexual harassment

The Equal Opportunities Commission on Wednesday instituted legal proceedings under the Sex Discrimination Ordinance on behalf of a foreign domestic helper who alleged her former employer of sexual harassment.
The equality watchdog said the claimant - a foreign domestic helper - accused her former employer of sexually harassing her on a number of occasions during her employment with him, including coming up close to sniff the fragrance of her hair and body after she had taken a shower.

According to the claimant, her former employer also repeatedly made unwelcomed requests to have sex with her and other vulgar sexual remarks, such as wanting her to help him have babies.

It was said that after the claimant’s repeated rejections, the accused became furious and used severely abusive language toward the claimant to demand her of having sex with him.

The EOC reminded members of the public that under the Sex Discrimination Ordinance, sexual harassment covers any unwelcome sexual behavior directed towards the harassed person in circumstances which a reasonable person would have anticipated that the harassed person would be offended, humiliated, or intimidated.

“It includes unwelcome sexual advances, unwelcome requests for sexual favors, and other unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature. The Sex Discrimination Ordinance covers sexual harassment in the employment field,” it said.

Meanwhile, the commission said it has been brought to their attention that there continues to be a considerable number of cases whereby employees were exposed to sexual harassment during employment.

From 2020 to 2022, the commission said they have received 504 sexual harassment complaints, representing 51 percent of all the complaints received by them under the Sex Discrimination Ordinance.

“By taking this case to court, the EOC hopes to raise public awareness and remind employers that sexual harassment against employees, including foreign domestic helpers, during their employment is unlawful and will attract serious legal consequences,” it added.
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